As Belfast bout hangs in the balance – McKenna wants “someone with a bit of balls” to accept fight

Tyrone McKenna [12(4)-0-1] makes the trip over to Los Angeles tomorrow to train and spar at ‘The Rock Gym’ – but ‘The Might Celt’ is not a happy bunny.

The Belfast light welter, along with Paddy Barnes and Jamie Conlan, is heading over to train at Mick Conlan’s new gym which is also the home of Jason Quigley. However, for McKenna, it looks like there wont be a fight at the end of camp for him.

The Lenadoon southpaw was widely expected to feature on the February 18th Boxnation show at the Waterfront Hall in his home city. This slot now hangs in the balance, with MGM finding it difficult to suitably match the 26 year old.

Following his sensational win against Sean Creagh, it was the intention to have McKenna defend the BUI Celtic title on the card with a potential Irish title fight with MGM stablemate Phil Sutcliffe Jr happening later in 2017.

However, with four weeks to go until fight night, McKenna is still without an opponent, with three unbeaten fighters turning down the chance to challenge for the belt.

One of these was Dublin’s Stephen Carroll [5(1)-0], whose management have a desire to build his record over 2017 and already have a fight date lined up in Scotland on March 4th.

A disappointed McKenna spoke to Irish-Boxing.com about the strong possibility that he wont feature on the card and will be unable to build on a career-best win.

“It’s very frustrating,” lamented McKenna. “I love fighting on hometown shows and to be told that they don’t know if I’m on the show yet as no one will step up and fight me is very frustrating.”

“It’s live television. It’s a title fight. It’s a great chance for them to make a name for themselves. I can’t see why they would turn it down.”

Discussing the opponents who have been contacted, McKenna admitted that “I can see why Carroll turned the fight down as he has only had five fights and is still building his record – but there’s another two boxers, one is 14-0 and the other is 10-0, so there is no reason why they are continuing to handpick journeymen and fight on small shows when they have a great opportunity to fight live for a title.”

“I guess they know I am the better man and don’t want to mix it with me – but they need to step up sometime.”

A six foot southpaw, the heavily tattooed McKenna, seems like a nightmare match-up for most. He however notes how “unlike most tall southpaw fighters, I don’t hide away and be a negative fighter. I go forward and I still like to mix it up, but i suppose most prospects will be wary to step up to me with my attributes.”

Trying to stay positive, McKenna has not given up all hope that he will appear on the Waterfront show, and concluded by sending a clear message out to his domestic rivals (preferably Irish, Scots, or Welsh to enable fighting for the BUI Celtic title):

“I will fight anyone in the UK. I don’t fear anyone in the division and I am ready to push forward in my career. Hopefully someone with a bit of balls comes out of the woodwork and accepts the fight.”

Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)

Joe O’Neill and Gavan Casey look ahead to 2017 in episode 1 of The Irish Boxing Show

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie